Play begins again in the church. The party searches the sanctuary. It doesn’t appear to be too old; just outside the foyer there is an office. SKS notices there is a book in his pocket; its Van Helsing’s journal. It is pages and pages of his hunt for the head vampire. He believes, according to the writing, that her grave in the graveyard just outside the church. He’s been staking out the area, waiting for her to return to her grave and rest. Some other entries also indicate that Duke Hazard (her old lover) has possibly moved the resting place to another spot from this space…but the final entry also mentions “I need to find the heart before I can kill the bitch.” Apparently the heart and the body would need to be together to be ultimately destroyed.
Some letters we find in the office from Duke Hazard’s estate indicate that some vampires had begun to come into the area – and he vowed to rid the area of them. But then he learned that his beloved Carmilla had become a vampire of her own evil; making him torn about what to do. Overcome with his love for her, he separated her heart from her and moved her body to his castle. The party fails to learn the location of Duke Hazard’s estate.
The party heads back out to the grave keeper’s house outside. He’s skeptical about helping us, but a Charm Person does the trick. There is a boiler in his house, which otherwise has a dirt floor and is run down. There is a small additional room covered by a wooden plank. The dirty room is where he sleeps, and has a run down bed. There are keys on a hook, which Brom takes.
We ask him about Duke Hazard. He knows of a compound in the nearby forest which is abandoned – and cursed. To the NE is an old worn path which leads us to the castle. We rest without event in the grave keeper’s house, which is protected with garlic! Our first rest in days, and SKS’ fatigue condition is removed.
The party searches the graveyard and finds a Duke Hazard statue in the center. There is a crypt with Carmilla’s family crest over it. The keys open the door, and in we go. There are eight stone caskets lining the walls. We open one and behead the corpse. The others we seal with a stone shape spell. In the main area, there is a statue in the corner. There is also a liquid around the center tomb, which gurgles occasionally. The liquid is water with a layer of scum on the top. There is a strong necromancy in the room. The tomb in the center of the room which is Carmilla’s ancestor and his history is inscribed on the tomb. This is her brother’s grave.
There are four statues in the room. Three of them are facing the center tomb. One has been forcibly turned to the corner, and is broken to pieces – and the statue’s head is missing from the room. The inscription reads “Countess Carmilla” – the girl we are after! The other statues all share the same surname – thus they were all representative of different family members. A mother, father, brother, and daughter. The grave in the center is the father’s grave. There are clear scrape marks on the grave.
Backtracking slightly, we return to a door we passed. Inside a room there is a statue of a man either begging or praying. It is noticeably more lifelike than the other statues. The next area is the mother’s grave site, with an inscription.
Finally, we head in to the area where the girl’s grave is located. The gurgling noise becomes louder and more apparent. Raised on the pedestal is her grave. As Balthar cracks her graves, the other three likewise burst open. The party hears laughter and footsteps. SKS kneels unexpectedly, as does Brom. Balthar smashes open the girl’s tomb, and see a letter and the head of the statue inside. An epic battle ensues, and three vampires are killed.
The letter from the girl’s tomb was one from Duke Hazard, expressing his love for her – but he explains that “he has to do what he has to do.” He seeds a tree with her blood, and buries her nearby. SKS replaces the head back on the statue, and as he does the statue crumbles: revealing a chest. It has an arcane lock, which SKS attempts to open – successfully. Inside appears to be a rock. It is the same color and material as the statue which just crumbled. We also notice that the statues which were previously lifelike and stone are now dust (we determine that they were minions of one of the vampires).
The party returns to the grave keeper’s house to rest. An eagle paper arrives with news: an Isling force moved west towards Port Helsing. As it moved through the hermit’s forest, and as it moved through, the advanced guard were getting picked off mysteriously. Nashkell was the target, where the army (led by Lance), was waiting for them. However, just before Lance was able to mount an attack – Smog arrived in town and smashed it, scattering most of the force. Still, the hermit plus the remaining soldiers were able to destroy the first Isling unit. We have been requested by Jimmue to move north and help repel whatever second force they send to the now-defenseless Nashkel.
THE PARTY LEVELS UP TO 13